chadsabourin’s review published on Letterboxd:
For quite some time, this or The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was my favorite film. I would say it was around four years ago when that changed, which was probably the last time that I saw this film. Which is a shame since prior to three to four years ago, I use to watch this film quite regularly & had seen it about a dozen times. I had owned it on DVD, Blu-ray & now 4K. So how was it all these years later? Honestly, amazing film. This is one of those films that I feel like it’s nearly impossible to hate simply because of the combination of entertainment value, rewatchability value & filmmaking. Roger Deakin’s filmic cinematography is drop dead gorgeous, especially in 4K. Love the camera movement, color palette & camera angles. All add up to an exceptional looking film. The sound mixing is no slouch either with combining really good sound effects with Thomas Newman’s perfect sounding score. Costume design, makeup & production design are outstanding to look at & fitting for the time periods that span across the film. The acting is very strong & it helps that the ensemble cast are ALL perfectly casted. The story has a simple premise but builds on it with precise, deliberate pacing that immerse us as the audience into the world building of the prison & all the characters in said environment. The narration by Morgan Freeman also feels like a character in itself & honestly is just so soothing & fitting. It helps too that an added layer of themes & messages such as existentialism, hope, danger of isolation, importance of friendship, etc are all explored very well. There are also many, many memorable scenes throughout that crescendos to the ending which my word…I almost forgot how beautiful it is. Got me quite emotional this time around. It’s a feel good film that earns it, though. Because there are plenty of brutal scenes throughout. In the end, The Shawshank Redemption is an exceptional film. It’s no longer my favorite film of all time & hasn’t been for 3-4 years. That being said, it’s still one of my all time favorite films that in my eyes, gets everything right. Highest, and I mean highest recommendation!